Green leafy suburbs may offer huge appeal for those looking to buy or build a new home, but for renovators, local tree regulations often pose a challenge when it comes to home extensions and improvements. Standard A8 (54.03-6) on Significant Trees is the legislation that governs what property renovation ideas are permissible when it impacts any significant trees on or near the property in question.

Renovators should ensure that any development makes provisions for the safe retention of existing trees or the planting of new ones (if removing significant trees is a necessity). This is particularly important if the tree species contributes to the uniqueness of a neighbourhood’s character.

Before removing any significant tree, renovators have to apply for special permission from the local council and must plant replacement trees. Failure to comply could incur heavy fines.

How to make sure your renovation complies with local tree protection laws

Avoiding expensive fines from your local council requires you to do your homework. Here are a few initial steps to take:

  • Identify the types of trees on your property

Knowing the species of trees on your property will help you understand if any local legislation applies to them. Significant trees are listed on a register that can be obtained from the council. Another type of tree to be aware of are canopy trees that can be identified by obtaining their trunks measurements. While there are numerous books to help you help identify tree species, having an arborist on hand is the easiest and safest way to stay on the right side of the law.

  • Determine tree protection zone and structural root zone

An expert arborist’s services are necessary to assess all factors that affect the tree protection zone and structural root zone of significant and canopy trees on your property.

  • Determine and inspect the health of your trees

Another important role of the arborist is to gauge the health of the trees and document results for the local council to access.

The best way to avoid contravening local tree regulations when developing residential property is to incorporate design extensions or renovations around existing trees. Trees can save you money on your electricity bill by providing shade from the sun, as well as adding a decorative element to your home. If safe to do so, why not build around the tree making it a central piece of artwork in the home.

Including your trees can add an exciting element to your design and a unique personal touch to a home. Consulting an experienced and skilled home extension builder is the best way to explore innovative design ideas. Schedule a consultation with one of our professional builders today.